Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
We’re wild again, beguiled again …
More from GT Stage
Best known for their work in what many consider the Golden Age of Musicals, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote some of the most romantic music in the American Songbook. With work including On Your Toes, Babes in Arms and Pal Joey, the pair captured the wistful, smoky sound of the 1930s and 40s – songs of longing, lost love and new love. In this stylish and glossy revue, Tim McArthur and David Harvey have assembled over thirty of their hits into an intimate and highly polished evening’s entertainment.
The 70-seat Jermyn Street Theatre has been transformed into a New York style revue bar (harking back to the theatre’s own glamorous past) with Musical Director David Harvey resplendent at a gorgeous piano. It’s the sort of set up Don Draper wouldn’t feel out of place in – and the glamour was definitely there on press night with a sprinkling of West End stars (and Su Pollard) in attendance.
The cast are equally glamorous – the dashing Stephen Ashfield (best known for his performances as Jersey Boy’s Bob Gaudio and Boy George in Taboo) leads the five-strong ensemble with a smattering of gorgeous torch songs and hilarious duets – the saucy Ev’ry Sunday Afternoon is a particular highlight. His partner in that number, the versatile Katie Kerr, also dazzles, constrasting excellent comic chops in Babes in Arms’ Way Out West with a Little Girl Blue that goes straight for the heart. Laura Armstrong’s hilarious paean to parricide, To Keep My Love Alive, also deserves special mention.
As ever, Tim McArthur directs with a simple, direct style which suits the intimate cabaret setting. Nothing about this revue is fussy, and it’s all the better for it; the numbers are given breathing space, with only the vague narrative of a Hollywood Party, the tune which opens and closes the show, allowing the songs (and cast) to wind in and out of each other.
Sparkling with style and sass, this is one of the better songbook revues. The material is well chosen, taking in the best of Rodgers and Hart, and the cast’s enthusiasm for it is infectious. If you’re bothered and bewildered by the West End, you could do much worse than wander to the back streets of Piccadilly Circus – a bewitching evening lies in store …
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered runs until 13 August at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London.
Words: Dan Usztan